Monday, 21 September 2009

One moment, one question, one aim: people to be invited ‘Back to Church’

Church and chapelgoers across Wales are preparing to invite thousands of people to services on Back to Church Sunday, 27 September 2009, joining in the UK-wide evangelism event.

The Church in Wales, the Baptist Union of Wales and the Presbyterian Church of Wales are all taking part in the initiative this year for the first time, by encouraging churchgoers to invite someone they know who used to attend church to come back on a particular Sunday. Churches and chapels will focus on extending an even warmer welcome than usual on the day, many supported by ‘Back to Church Sunday’ resources such as special red ‘welcome’ T-shirts and subsidised ‘party packs’ of fairly-traded catering products, produced in partnership with Traidcraft.

Also taking part in the day will be congregations from the Church of England, Churches Together in Scotland, Baptist, Methodist and United Reformed churches nationwide, Elim Pentecostal churches and Anglican churches in Australia, Argentina, New Zealand and Canada.

‘Back to Church Sunday’ began in Manchester in 2004, spread to Wakefield Diocese in 2005, nine dioceses in 2006, 20 in 2007, and 38 in 2008, when an estimated 37,000 people came back. After being successfully piloted in Llandaff Diocese last year, it is being fully adopted by the Church in Wales this year.

The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said he hoped people would take up the invitation to come back to church and renew their interest in church life and spirituality.

“In the busy-ness of our lives it is all too easy to get out of the habit of going to church. There are lots of people who enjoy and have fond memories of church but who, over time, have drifted away. Back to Church Sunday is a chance to encourage them to come back and renew their relationship with God. They may be surprised at how the church has changed over the years and we hope they will receive a warm welcome and feel included.”

Rev D Marc Owen Church Life Secretary/Director of Mission Baptist Union of Wales said:

“They say that many people don’t go to Church because they’ve never been asked. Can that be true? BTCS gives us all an opportunity to test this theory out on our friends and family and if past years are anything to go by, many of us have discovered they’ll come! It’s also a challenge to Christians to think about how relevant and appropriate an experience of “Church” would be to our friends – many of whom have no Church background. This year’s BTCS initiative once again gives us an opportunity to actively think about how to creatively engage with mission, amongst our friends, using a Sunday service. I warmly commend this initiative to you – invite your friends and think about what you’re inviting them to.”

The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Wales, Rev Gwenda Richards, said:

“We are delighted to be taking part in Back to Church Sunday for the first time. We’ve had a great response from our churches and we’re really looking forwards to seeing how they get on. It’s great to know that our friends in the Church in Wales and other churches are taking part, and incredibly exciting to feel part of a global event. Many people need only the slightest bit of persuasion to come back to church, and I would like to extend an invitation to all people to attend a service in any church on September 27. I hope and expect that they will be pleasantly surprised by what they find.”


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